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Old 05-11-2021, 02:55 PM   #1
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Location: Redlands, Ca.
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Ring and pinion issue

Hello all thx so much for past help. My 04 windsor is right now being towed. We are in walton kentucky. Drive shaft spins but nothing happens except a loud clunking. has anyone everhad a differential go out. Ujoints are fine. Happened while trying to go thru a blind intersection. Any recommendations on a good shop?
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:17 PM   #2
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Pull the drain plug and see if there is any metal in the bottom. For the drive shaft to turn and nothing happens you either have a complete Ring & Pinion failure or one of the stub shafts (not sure if that is the proper term) broke. The stub shaft can be checked my removing the end caps on the axle.

There is a tag on the carrier housing for the ring and pinion, get the information off of it to source parts if needed.

Barmcd, who is a moderator, had a ring & pinon failure on his dynasty ~3 years ago, it still drove, he found metal while doing an oil change on his differential. Maybe he'll chime in.
Jim J
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:28 PM   #3
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Removing the drain plug certainly is a quick check, and a concern I would check for is if the differential had leaked over time all of the gear oil as well as checking for metal in the oil. In any case, the repair and diagnosis checks (other than the drain plug) are not something that most DIY people can easily do and you will likely need a truck center to do the work. ~Craig
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:41 PM   #4
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Could be drive plates or axles also. Interested to know what you find out as I have an 04 Windsor as well.

Checking the drive plates/axles should be less difficult, with the hub caps off and end covers removed. IF a plate is bad would see the drive shaft spin in the plate. axles would be hard to tell, but have to remove them to remove the Diff center section, and would be obvious then.

Good luck
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Old 05-11-2021, 03:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by craigav View Post
In any case, the repair and diagnosis checks (other than the drain plug) are not something that most DIY people can easily do and you will likely need a truck center to do the work. ~Craig
How true. Slipshod shops can install new parts but to do the job right it takes some special tools and knowledge. Setting pinion depth and bearing preload isn't something a lube rack mechanic can do. Then add in carrier bearing preload and backlash and there is a lot of room for error.
I have seen too often where some so called tech. replaced the shims behind a pinion bearing with the ones he took out from the failed bearing not giving any attention to a plus or minus marking on the end of the pinion gear, ran the pinion nut on with an impact wrench and sent the job out the door. The vehicle may have run a couple hundred miles before a loud screaming came from the differential.
Hopefully you just broke an axle, the broken parts can be removed from the housing and a new axle installed so you can be on your way within a few days. Parts availability and delivery could be an issue.
Good luck.
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Old 05-11-2021, 06:02 PM   #6
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Broken axle or gears

We have been towed to a very nice large shop. Fytd freightliner in walton ky. Tomorrow they said they could at least diagnose the issue. Will keep you posted. To tow they pulled drive shaft. Stopped traffic for about an hour
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Old 05-11-2021, 07:48 PM   #7
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EDIT I started this post hours ago.

Sounds like he is on the road so DIY is doubtful. Good luck with repairs. Sounds like something broke/sheared. Which may be better than ground up gears. If diff was going bad , you should have heard it started howling on or off power.
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Old 05-12-2021, 08:17 AM   #8
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It's pretty rare for a third member (rear end) to get knocked out unless it had a leak especially on an RV. On a big over the road truck there is almost always a constant load applied and even then they go for 1 million plus miles and never have any problems so long as they are kept full of oil.

Good thing is the entire center chunk can be changed out once the axles are removed. It's a heavy job but not a brain buster for sure. No need to rebuild the OEM/stock one. Setting those big ring and pinions up does require a skill set that I bet most big shops can't even do. Most of the time they just order the center chunk as a replacement and send the old one in as a core. Good luck to the OP.
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Old 05-12-2021, 09:55 AM   #9
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Never replaced one in several high mileage cars...even one that was drag raced early in it's life. Have replaced mine in the Dynasty twice now Once at about 70k miles. Proactively just recently at 141K...lots of slop in the gearset, clunk when going into gear. Ride height and driveline angle has always been in spec. Shaft and joints lubed every 5k per Spicer. First one just barely limped into the truck shop, ring gear chunked. Second one you could turn the driveshaft almost 1/4 turn with no load on it, would not take a chance on big summer trip.

Expect about $3k for a reman unit. First one was a Weller out of Grand Rapids and shipped to Idaho Falls. Second one was a little less (surprise) from a company in Charlotte, NC.

You should insist on a unit that is set up "quiet" for a motorhome, their is a difference from normal truck setup. Exopect about 6 hours labor total a little more if the housing has to be flushed if the unit left chunks.

Good Luck
Happy Trails,
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Old 05-12-2021, 10:04 AM   #10
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They do break occasionally. The last one I saw broke the pinion teeth. They were stuck and rocking it from Drive to Reverse.
Diesel pushers use a reverse tooth gear set as they face the rear, where most trucks the differential faces forward.

Good luck!
97 Monaco Windsor- Sold
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Old 05-13-2021, 12:44 AM   #11
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I would second some of the suggestions here. I set up 5 different gear sets in a car I had years ago. It can be very tough. Even if the gear contact pattern is more/less perfect and the backlash is spot on, they can still whine. Doing it in a shop/production environment would be harder still.

A fella above mentioned replacing the entire pumpkin? That's what I would do if that proves to be the case. If they are setup out of the box it would be ideal.
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